From Non-SCS to IAS: Haryana govt’s move to shortlist candidates on basis of written test challenged before CAT
The Chandigarh bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) issued notices to the Centre, Haryana government, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and HPSC to submit a reply before July 14 when the case will come up for hearing.Updated: Jul 03, 2020 20:45 IST
The Manohar Lal Khattar government’s June 9 order that Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) will conduct written test and shortlist non-state civil service (Non-SCS) officers to fill five Indian Administrative Service (IAS) posts has run into a legal hurdle.
On Friday, the Chandigarh bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) issued notices to the Centre, Haryana government, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and HPSC to submit a reply before July 14 when the case will come up for hearing.
“The prayer of the applicant for interim relief will be considered on the next date of hearing,” the CAT bench stated in its order after senior advocate, Rajesh Garg, pleaded to set aside and quash the June 9 notification. The CAT heard the case via videoconference due to Covid-19 pandemic.
At the root of the arguments of senior counsel was June 9 notification that he said “indirectly” conferred upon the HPSC the power to conduct parallel examinations even as in any case the state does not have this power.
“The impugned order is contrary to Article 246 of the Constitution of India as the state government cannot usurp upon the powers of the central government to make rules related to the IAS,” the senior counsel argued.
Surender Singh Dahiya, 52, who is a additional director, agriculture department, has moved the CAT.The petition points out that an extensive syllabus has been prescribed, providing a handle to the state government to oust candidates of “outstanding ability and merit” in spite of having the best service record.
“It is trite law that what is not permissible to be done directly, cannot be allowed to be done indirectly,” reads the petition.
The petitioners’ senior counsel further stated that the state government ‘s order is also against regulation 5 and 6 of the IAS (Appointment by Selection) Regulations, 1977, which categorically states that the suitability of a person for appointment to service is to be determined by scrutiny of service record, personal interview and confidential record of the officer concerned to adjudge the outstanding ability and merit of a candidate.
The condition incorporated by the state government vide June 9 notification to the extent of conducting written examination is arbitrary and is liable to be quashed and set aside, senior counsel of the petitioner said.
The June 9 order of the state government allows HPSC to recommend candidates (non-SCS officers) not exceeding five times the number of vacancies after conducting the written examination.
This is for the first time that non-SCS officers in Haryana will have to take a written examination to get appointed to an IAS post. Until now, the non-SCS officers in Haryana were appointed to such posts on the basis of their service record.
The HPSC will prepare a merit list based on the marks obtained in the written examination and recommend names to the state government for onward submission to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
The three-hour written examination will have 100 multiple-choice questions with five options. The examination will have negative marking and for every wrong answer, 25% marks assigned to the question will be deducted.